Sea Glass Summer

Posted December 12, 2019 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Books

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If you’re like many of us who have been inundated with snow, sleet, wind, and rain, this may be the book that will lift your winter spirits.

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Sea Glass Summer written by Michelle Houts and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline tells a story of how a young boy called Thomas spends the summer at his grandmother’s island cottage. She gifts Thomas with a magnifying glass that was his grandfather’s. Each day, Thomas and his grandmother search the beach for treasures left behind by the sea. His grandmother finds a piece of sea glass which she hands to Thomas, saying “…after being broken, tossed in the saltwater and sand, the pieces turn smooth and cloudy.” She adds, “…your grandfather used to say that each piece of sea glass has a story all its own.” That night, with his sea glass nearby, Thomas dreams of a ship from long ago as seen in Ibatoullines’ realistic illustrations. As the ship is christened with a bottle of champagne, pieces of the bottle fall into the ocean. Sea glass days and sea glass night dreams make up Thomas’ summer. At the end of the summer as Thomas and his grandmother are ferrying off the island, Thomas drops his grandfather’s magnifying glass and pieces fall into the sea. The story fast forwards to many years later when a young girl who is visiting a family island cottage shows her Papaw Tom a piece of sea glass she found. He carefully examines it and says, “…each piece of sea glass has a story of its own.” That night with her sea glass nearby, she dreams of a boy named Thomas.

I’m fascinated by this story because our family loves hunting for sea glass on the beaches of New England. Bagram Ibatoulline’s realistic illustrations are beautifully rendered, and Michelle Houts’ story inspires imaginative thinking. The author and illustrator weave a story of family, history, and the art of sea glass. Make sure to check this out!

Nothing Wee about Me!

Posted December 5, 2019 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Books

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Nothing Wee About Me! is written by Kim Chaffee (author of Her Fearless Run: Kathrine Switzer’s Historic Boston Marathon) and illustrated by Laura Bobbiesi. In this imaginative tale, a wee girl named Liesel uses Grandma Rose’s soup ladle to wish for magical adventures. With her trusty ladle, Liesel confronts a pirate, a fire-breathing dragon, rescues a prince, and uses her ingenuity to save a town from an erupting volcano. She does all this just in time to return Grandma Rose’s ladle and enjoy a bowl of Grandma’s Sunday soup. Liesel proves there is nothing WEE about her in this romp through the world of imagination! Readers will enjoy Liesel’s adventures and Laura Bobbiesi’s charming illustrations rendered in soft pastels. There is nothing wee about this book!

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted November 28, 2019 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Holidays

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Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. – William Arthur Ward

bountiful thanksgving

May this Thanksgiving bring joy and happiness to you and all those you love!

Friday Night Fights – Joe Louis

Posted November 21, 2019 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Historical Fiction Picture Book

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When I was growing up, my brother, my grandfather, and I spent many Friday evenings watching boxing on television. We cheered for the boxers and sang along with the Gillette Razor Company’s commercial. Those times are long gone, but the warm memories of my grandfather and Friday Night Fights are still alive.

Joe

A Fist for Joe Louis and Me written by Trinka Hakes Noble and beautifully illustrated in soft watercolors by Nicole Tadgell brought back good memories of my early childhood and my grandfather. The author sets the story in Detroit, Michigan during the Great Depression and the coming of World War II with Nazi Germany. Trinka Hakes Noble weaves the story together with the real-life event, the Fight of the Century, which features Joe Louis, an American boxer from Detroit, Michigan and Max Schmeling, a boxer from Germany. The year is 1938 and Gordy is a young African American whose father gives him boxing lessons on Friday after he gets home from work. When dinner is over, the two of them listen to Friday Night Fights on the radio. Like many people living in the Detroit area at that time, Gordy’s father loses his job at the automobile plant. Gordy’s mother begins to take in sewing from Mr. Rubinstein, a Jewish tailor whose family left Germany to escape the Nazis. When Mr. Rubinstein drops off the sewing at Gordy’s house, he brings along his son, Ira. The two boys find they have a lot in common. They both like boxing, Joe Louis is their favorite boxer, and they watch Friday Night Fights with their fathers. Their friendship grows, and when an older student bullies Ira at school, Gordy channels thoughts of what Joe Louis would do and does the right thing to help Ira. Meanwhile, Ira’s father starts talking to Gordy’s father about boxing and the rematch between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling. A friendship grows between the two men as they realize they have many things in common, too. Trinka Hakes Noble has written a heartwarming story about unlikely friendships that blossom during a time of hardship and unrest in the world and a hometown boxing idol who gives hope to the American people in the Fight of the Century.

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Treats

Posted November 14, 2019 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Holiday Books

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There’s nothing better than reading a great book. With Thanksgiving on the way, I’d like to share some of my favorite holiday books.

Thank You, Sarah! The  Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving

A cleverly written and illustrated book about Sarah Hale who fought to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. She persisted and Abraham Lincoln listened.

Sarah

Sharing the Bread: An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving Story 

A delightful story in which a family works together to prepare a delicious Thanksgiving feast.

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Bear Says Thanks

If you’re a fan of Karma Wilson’s Bear Books, you’ll find this one a delicious treat.

Bear

Thanksgiving Mice!

Written in rhyme, youngsters will enjoy perky mice putting on a Thanksgiving play for their friends and then inviting everyone to celebrate together.

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A Turkey for Thanksgiving

When Mrs. Moose tells Mr. Moose she’d like a real turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, he obliges. But Turkey doesn’t want anything to do with it in this hilarious Thanksgiving turkey tale.

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How Many Days to America? A Thanksgiving Story

A family is forced to flee their small country when the government police come. They board a small boat bound for America, but there are a host of setbacks. After many days at sea, they finally reach the shores of America where they are welcomed and invited to celebrate Thanksgiving.

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I hope you’ll take a bite out of these delicious books!

 

 

Sea Food Delights!

Posted November 7, 2019 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Nonfiction Picture Books

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If you haven’t had a chance to read I See Sea Food: Sea Creatures That Look Like Food, now is the time get your hands on a copy of this delicious treat!

sea food

Opening this book is like browsing through a menu at your favorite restaurant. Anyone for a Louisiana Pancake Batfish? Or how about a Chocolate Chip Sea Star? Or a Pizza Crust Sea Slug? Jenna Grodzicki offers up a buffet of unique sea creatures that are so appetizing you’ll want to sneak a bite. Each page turn reveals a colorful close-up photo of a delightfully weird-looking sea animal. Accompanying the photo is a description of the sea animal and some fast facts. But wait! There’s more! The back matter includes a glossary, an activity, and suggested books for further reading. Jenna Grodzicki has created a clever book that is not only filled with interesting information, but it begs to be read over and over. Wouldn’t you love to take a bite out of this book?

 

 

 

 

Happy Halloween!

Posted October 31, 2019 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Special Days

Tags:

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Have a BOOO-tiful day!

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